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How NOT to talk about debt with someone who is in it

Money and debt are often connected with personal and emotional concerns. About a third of Americans who have some form of credit are in debt or collections. Bringing up financial issues with someone who has a great deal of debt is tricky. Showing compassion and being supportive is what you should do, the following is a list of things you should not do when talking about debt.

Being dismissive

“Everyone has debt” is not a statement that someone who is currently in debt wants to hear. It can feel like their financial situation is being minimized. Using phrases like these are not helpful nor do they offer any useful advice. Support any efforts this person has put toward paying off their debt.

Put it on your credit card

The idea of “buy now pay later” can rack up a lot of debt in a short period of time. Cheering on the debtor to take on more debt instead of resolving the monetary issue can be destructive for people who are already struggling financially.

Stop spending so carelessly

Blame or irresponsibility can serve to drive the debtor toward even more overspending. Often people turn to compensatory spending to deal with underlying emotional issues.

You deserve it

Whether it is a new pair of shoes, jet-setting or going out to dinner, treating yourself is fine in moderation. The temptation of spending money the person does not have is already high enough that someone else does not need to encourage that behavior.

I had it worse

Just because you may have been in a similar position in your life, it is not constructive to compare your situation to that of someone else. This type of language will not do anything to solve the issue and it can be interpreted as uncaring.

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